The Q grader course was developed by the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) as a way to objectively examine coffees and score coffees based on their many attributes and overall quality. It is in fact the only certification in the industry that is based on quality.
The aim behind the program is to create people all over the world as professional cuppers known as Q Graders who all speak the same language when it comes to coffee. The system quantifies taste attributes such as fragrance, aroma, body, acidity, flavour, aftertaste, balance, sweetness etc. to ensure all participants are identifying flavour characteristics in the same way. By applying scores to the coffee, everyone involved in the process understands the quality of that coffee. Coffee that scores under 80 points in an assessment does not meet Q standards, however the producer will be given a technical report in hope to use the information to increase their production practices and coffee quality.
Yes, this has rewarded the coffee community in number of ways. Firstly, it has created a common language amongst coffee professionals around the world. It rewards quality coffee. Then it also gives constructive feedback to coffee growers on where their coffee sits in the market as well as how they can improve the quality of their coffee. In short, we get better coffee and coffee farmers get more money for their coffee. Win-win.
In order to become a Q grader one must attend this course and pass twenty exams relating to coffee: four tables of cupping, four triangulations of coffees from the cupping tables, four olfactory tests, matching pairs of organic acids in coffee, three different sensory skills test, roast sample identification, green bean grading, and finally a general knowledge multiple choice exam. Sound difficult? It is! This requires you to pass an exciting and a tongue-tiring three days’ exam. If you fail any of these twenty exams you must retake and pass in order to become a certified Q grader.
Mid-week of October, Caswell’s had this Q Course at our SCAA certified Campus, located in Ampera Raya, Jakarta. Eleven participants involved. Some coming all the way from Maldives and United States yet most of them were coming from Jakarta.
Fun fact: During those days, we found out many people tried to live healthier. Interesting! Some had stopped eating spicy, sweet or salty foods, smoking cigarettes in preparation for the exams so as to increase their sensory perception.
This Q Course was conducted by Resianri Triane. She is Caswell’s Training and Development Manager who is also certified as Q Assistant Instructor. This 6-day program also became her assessment to get the prestigious title as Q Instructor, which was supervised and assessed by Rocky Rhodes, Q Instructor. And she nailed it!
Congratulations to Ms. Resi and all the graduates. Let’s work hand in hand for better coffee quality!